I was talking to a new acquaintance recently. Ace came up, and she asked how old he is. When I told her 18 months, she said "Oh, well he must be walking all over the place!" Fair assumption. I put on my "lemme ease you into this" smile, and said "No, not yet. He's got cerebral palsy."
See, at this point, a lot of people clam up. I couldn't figure this out for a while, but it really makes a lot of people visibly uncomfortable when I say that, or when I mention anything about his condition.
Here's my hypothesis. People seriously must think that I'm bummed out every second of every day that I have a child with special needs, and that I'm just putting on a brave face for the world to see, so natch, talking about it MUST be painful to me. I've had a lot of people tell me that they just couldn't handle having a child with CP, and they don't know how I do it.
I don't understand how people can stand their children not sleeping through the night till age 2. I don't understand how parents of picky eaters can give their kids anything they want just to get some food into them. I don't understand why my friend can't just let her kid cry, considering he doesn't nap without her laying next to him. I don't understand how people with multiples don't have scraggly hair and bags under their eyes 24/7. Do you ever tell people like that how brave they are? No, cuz that's just the way it is.
I'm not brave. I'm not modest. I'm sure as heck not sad every moment of every day, and none of you would be either if Ace were yours. I don't mind talking about Ace's diagnosis, or his future, or ANYTHING. If you have questions, please ask. What's worse to me is you pretending he doesn't have cerebral palsy, or pretending that at some point it'll just go away and we don't have to talk about it until the storm passes. That's not accepting him for who he is.
So don't get all uncomfortable when I say how happy I am that he'll never get drafted, or when I say things like "I guess he'll just ask girls to dance by bumping into them with his walker and saying 'deh?'" Thank God I have friends with senses of humor. Ringo wins the off-color joke award, but I won't repeat his jokes because I will straight up offend people. However, he made me laugh so hard that cookie came out of my nose.
On another note, this goes out to you parents. Do not censor yourselves around me because I have a child with a disability. If you're concerned that your child isn't walking by 13 months, don't avoid telling me that because Ace isn't walking at 18 months. I'd be concerned too. When your child starts walking, or saying mama, or anything, TELL ME. I am HAPPY FOR YOU. To be completely honest, I am sad that Ace isn't doing those things yet, and may never do some things, and it does twinge my heart just a tiny little bit. But your child walking doesn't send me into a pit of depression. If you haven't told me that your child is walking, I kinda get worried. It's like when I was trying to get pregnant - when my friends got pregnant, I was a little sad that I wasn't, but ecstatic that they were. Everyone dig?
And since I hate having two posts on my blog in a row with a serious theme, I will post these two lolcats in honor of Caturday.
Now I'm gonna go make myself all cute for a party tonight. Ace is gonna be staying with a paid, 17-year-old. She kept calling me ma'am. *sigh*
23 hours ago